Solar System, ROV, planet, beam, bricks, plates, axles, Solar Energy, Light Sensor
Subject and Grade Level
NXT, K, 1, 2, 3
1 Hour Total
- Program a NXT ROV to travel from Earth to an assigned planet.
- Use this activity to learn about the solar system.
- One pre-built NXT car for each pair of students.
- ‘Solar System’ that can be laid out on the floor, which shows all nine planets including earth. These can be marked off with tape, construction paper circles, etc.
- ‘ROVing Away’ activity worksheet.
- Planet fact cards set at each planet.
- Postcards from Pluto, by Loreen Leedy.
Preparation and Set Up:
- Create ‘Solar System’ and planet facts.
- Lay out ‘Solar System’ and planet facts.
- Distribute NXT cars.
- Distribute activity worksheets.
- Break students into groups of 2.
- The teacher should do some research on each planet so that students can discuss the solar system after the activity. Wikipedia should have sufficient information on the solar system for this activity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_system.
(optional) Read Postcards from Pluto by Loreen Leedy to the class. This will serve as review and set up for the lesson.
Divide students into groups and assign each group a planet (there may be repeats).
Tell students to make an educated guess as to how long they think their trip might take from Earth to their assigned planet. Have students program their car to run for this amount of time and then stop.
Tell students that since the planets are different distances from Earth, the time that each group programs into their NXT should be different.
Tell students to reenter new times until their car stops exactly at the designated planet.
Come together as a class and discuss the difficulties and successes that each group had.
Have each student read their planet fact card to the class to facilitate discussion on the solar system.
Extensions or Modifications:
- Use a light sensor to program the car when to stop.
- Program the NXT car to turn around and return to Earth.
- Program the NXT to turn and stop when it is facing the sun. The sun can be represented as a flashlight and the device used to make the NXT stop is the light sensor.